Last Thursday night, October 22, in a daring raid, U.S. Special forces teamed with Kurdish Peshmerga forces and attacked an ISIS controlled prison in Hawijah, just outside the now autonomous Kurdish region of Northern Iraq. They heroically liberated 70 prisoners scheduled for beheading on the following day after prayers. Sadly, a titan of the U.S. Special Forces, Joshua Wheeler, was killed there. He is a legend, known to virtually every member of that most elite branch of our military, a man who had been deployed seventeen times to Iraq and Afghanistan and who earned eleven bronze stars with four with V for valor. He leaves behind four sons and a widow.
The operation marked the first known instance of an American service members battling ISIS fighters on the ground in Iraq under President Obama's new mission to “train and advise” local forces against the terror group and the first to be killed. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said last Friday that Wheeler “did what proud Americans do” when he ran toward the sound of gunfire.
Beginning in September of last year (2014), in response to the fall of large portions of Iraq and Syria to ISIS, I wrote a six-part series of articles entitled, Create a New Kurdistan and Destabilize Iran (see http://larrykelley.com/published-articles/). In these essays, I proposed that, having squandered its victory in Iraq and watching our retreat from the region descend into massive, murderous chaos, the U.S. should recognize, support, and strongly ally with the Kurdish people’s long-sought desire for their own independent homeland. The humanitarian and strategic benefits for the West are simply too great to pass up this opportunity. And the prison raid may very well prove that my thesis—a historic realignment in the Middle East can be had in the U.S. backed creation of a free and independent Kurdistan is already beginning to unfold.
First a little background: as I reported in September of last year, Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu declared that, given the territorial conquest of vast lands inside Syria and Iraq, he supported Iraqi Kurds “aspirations for independence. In the 1960s when Iraqi Kurdish rebels sent emissaries to Israel to plead for help in fighting their mutual enemy—the Arab government in Bagdad. Eliezer Tsafrir, a Mossad agent, headed Israel’s covert operations in Kurdistan from 1965 to 1975. His special ops command supplied the Peshmerga (Kurdish freedom fighters) with weapons and training. The Kurdish military heroically reciprocated during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war by launching an offensive against the Iraqi army during the 1967 Arab Israeli War, tying down troops that would otherwise have been attacking the Jewish military. Tsafrir (still living) has stated he is certain that an independent Kurdistan would be an ally of Israel.
The roughly 30 million Kurds, populating a large diaspora comprising a contiguous region of Southeastern Turkey, Northern Syria and Iraq, and Western Iran, constitute one of the largest ethnic populations without an independent home land on the planet. And while Islamic, they are at peace with Jews and all other regional religious minorities such as the Yazidi’s. Additionally they are as respectfully to women as is any Western nation. In fact more so; they field all female military units in their war against ISIS. In other units, the men and the women (some are teenage girls) fight valiantly side by side.
As I wrote in October of last year, “…all the above elements of free and independent Kurdistan make for a powerful narrative for a U.S. president who can follow the example of Reagan, an American President who led the West to victory in the cold war. What allowed General Petraeus under President Bush to win the second Iraq war was his ability to get Sunni tribal chieftains to switch sides and join the U.S. in the battle against al Qaeda in Iraq and Iran’s Shiite provocateurs. It was called the “awakening.”
The stage is now set for Obama (but most probably, his successor) to instigate the “great awakening” all across the Muslim world. In partnering with the 30 million Kurds, America can help them to become the spear tip in the defeat of ISIS. We can even aid them in the liberation of their countrymen inside Iran, and we can recognize the independence of a new Kurdistan. But the West and its allies in the Muslim world will need a visionary U.S. Commander in Chief to help the Kurdish people to begin a Muslim reformation which would include peace with religious minorities and with the West and respect for women’s rights, one Muslim nation at a time.
The Kurds who are fighting for their survival, are already allied with the West and even Israel, and deserve to live in a free and independent Kurdistan. If we did not have a president who was blinded by his multiculturist dogma, he might realize that we in the West are embroiled in an ideological war with a significant portion of Islam. He might therefore go to the podium and champion the valiant all-female Kurdish fighters who are on the front lines of this war. “Theirs is a tremendous example of female liberation, a phenomenon the whole world should applaud and emulate,” the president could say. “The world has already seen their photos. They fight not wearing veils or burkas but in fatigues and with Kalashnikovs.”
If Obama could be convinced to offer the Kurds not just all necessary military support but also U.S. recognition when they choose to declare their independence, it seems probable that he could negotiate a robust status of forces agreement in free Kurdistan. In this way, our allies, the U.S., Israelis, the Kurds, and others (possibly some moderate Sunni States, the Jordanians and Saudis, etc.) could achieve numerous historic geopolitical victories that have completely eluded this president during the first six years of his failed foreign policy.
If Obama can be convinced that it is in his interest to totally destroy IS (not just contain it), the U.S. and allies based in the Kurdish North of Iraq could begin by starving the Islamic State’s forward armies, cutting off their supply lines into central Iraq and end with the total destruction of the IS command and control structure in both Iraq and Syria. It seems that even this faculty-lounge Marxist should be able to figure out that a military victory that liberates terrorized Muslim populations would be good for his place in history.